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News

Police stress need for low speed in school zones

Police stress need for low speed in school zones


Town Crier File Photo
After two recent accidents involving cyclists and motorists, police urge caution – on both sides.

After two recent incidents of vehicles striking student bicyclists, Los Altos Police urge residents to exercise caution whe...

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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From cavities to cuffs: Longtime reserve police officer spends days as dentist


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Steve Marshall converses with Los Altos residents while working a shift as a reserve officer for the Los Altos Police Department.

On most days, Dr. Steve Marshall can be found performing myriad dental-related services. On Fridays, however, Marshall is known in Los Altos by an entirely different title – officer.

That’s because Marshall is one of five reserve police officers regularly used by the Los Altos Police Department to augment patrols and other public safety services. Marshall can typically be found most Fridays patrolling the city in his cruiser or policing events like the annual Los Altos High Homecoming Parade and the Arts & Wine Festival.

Marshall, often referred to by his police colleagues as “Doc,” noted that while the arrangement may seem a tad unusual to some, the ability to play two distinctly different roles suits him just fine.

“They all provide me with a great deal of satisfaction,” said Marshall, who has operated his family dentistry practice in Sunnyvale since 1977. “When I walk in my office, I’m Dr. So and So, and I’m in charge of everybody. Every single question gets run by me. Here, I’m just one of the guys. That’s a different thing … I don’t have to be in charge. In some ways, that’s refreshing.”

And while he has nearly four decades of experience as a dentist, Marshall also happens to be one of the longest-tenured officers on the police force with 25 years of service.

“He’s definitely one of the elder statesmen in our organization,” Police Chief Tuck Younis said with a chuckle. “But he’s the epitome of what I want in a Los Altos police officer. He’s someone who cares about the community, he’s invested in the community and he’s approachable.”

A chance encounter

Marshall recalled his introduction to police work, noting that one of his dental hygienists became engaged to a Los Altos police officer, who in turn offered Marshall the opportunity to ride along with him during a shift one day in 1987.

“I was listening to his police stories and I thought that sounded exciting … so I jumped in his car and we had a great time,” Marshall said.

After the ride-along, Marshall expressed an interest in police work and was encouraged to speak to then-Los Altos Police Sgt. Jim Malatesta about the possibility of joining the department as a reserve. The meeting, he noted, also happened to be a chance encounter between two former high school classmates – the two men attended Fremont High in Sunnyvale around the same time.

“We both went home and looked – we had signed each other’s yearbooks,” Marshall said with a grin.

Soon after, Marshall attended reserve police academy training at night, graduating more than a year later before starting a secondary career as a level I reserve officer in Los Altos. Marshall said his career decision is one he looks back on fondly – even if it was somewhat unexpected initially.

“I always admired police officers, and I always respected police officers, but I never saw myself becoming a police officer,” he added. “But it was community service. The thought of doing something that was a positive thing and something that was helpful to people – it certainly fit those criteria.”

An asset to police

Younis emphasized that reserve officers play a “critical role” in the department. Specifically, he noted that level I reserves like Marshall perform many of the same functions as full-time officers, such as performing traffic patrol, securing crime scenes and gathering evidence.

Full-time police department members consider Marshall – as well as other reserve officers – one of their own, according to Younis.

“They are viewed as fully integrated members of this organization,” Younis said. “(The regular officers) trust them with their lives – that’s the truest compliment.”

“I think we feel like we have to earn that respect, and we also covet it,” Marshall said.

Although he is quick to express his passion for police work, Marshall readily conceded that dentistry also offers many satisfying elements, such as his drive to fix things. Dentistry, Marshall added, offers an element of instant gratification not found in other medical careers.

“In dentistry, you have the advantage of not waiting for the person to heal,” said Marshall, who previously worked in forensics, allowing him to combine his professional backgrounds. “You can take it, fix it, and when you’re done and that person stands up, it’s better than it was before. That’s very satisfying right there.”

Marshall said that though he doesn’t regularly share the fact that he’s an officer with his dental patients – and vice versa in his role as an officer – he’s proud of his work in both professions. As for the future, Marshall has no plans to slow down, even with more than two decades years of police work under his belt.

“It’s been a great 25 years,” he said, “and I’m still having a great time.”

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